As football squads tinker with their rosters prior to the start of training camps, a few American Indian gridiron greats are on the move
Northern Cheyenne tribal member Levi Horn is joining the Minnesota Vikings. Less than five days after the Chicago Bears waived the six-foot-seven, 320-pound offensive tackle, their NFC North division rivals in Minnesota added the big man. Horn, who starred at the University of Montana, is a Nike N7ambassador and actively involved in outreach to American Indian youth on reservations across the country in the off-season. In a statement to NDNSports.com, Horn said, “I’m looking forward to play for a team with great tradition and pride. I thank them for giving me a chance and will look to improve my skills and hopefully contribute to the Vikings success next season.”
Horn will need to be at his best, as he may be seeing a lot of linebacker Ronnell Lewis, Muscogee (Creek), next season. Lewis, a fourth round draft pick of the Detroit Lions, a Vikings’ division rival, this year, was a standout at the University of Oklahoma (OU) and as a rookie is expected to get playing time with the Lions, who are coming off their first playoff appearance since 1999. Lewis, six-foot-two, 253 pounds, had 118 tackles (67 solo) with 10 sacks and seven quarterback pressures in his OU career. He also picked off two passes and caused and recovered three fumbles. As a senior, Lewis was named to the All Big 12 first team.
One player who is expected to join Lewis and Horn in the NFL in 2013—some are projecting him to be the number one draft pick then, if he foregoes his senior season—is University of Tennessee (UT) quarterback Tyler Bray. A member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Bray has been invited to attend the elite Manning Passing Academy in Louisiana in July. In addition to instructing young campers, Bray will be tutored by current NFL superstar quarterbacks—and brothers—Peyton (Denver Broncos) and Eli Manning (New York Giants). The Brothers Manning have three Super Bowl titles between them, including Eli’s win last season. Bray, a junior from California, has previously worked with Peyton, who is a UT alum—and its most famous former quarterback—during his visits to Knoxville, Tennessee. As a sophomore, Bray broke a few of Peyton’s records, including most consecutive games with multiple touchdown passes. Look for Bray to surpass more of Peyton’s achievements this coming season, when UT fights for a national championship.